Archive for April, 2009

What Do We Need to Do to Accelerate Change?

We walked the halls of this years Social Venture Network conference speaking with SVN members to ask them a single question:

What is the one most important thing that SVN members need to do to accelerate the change that is needed in the world?

Here’s what a few of them had to say:

April 26, 2009 at 2:43 pm Leave a comment

7 Ways to Balance Mission and Margin

The SVN spring gathering’s closing panel brought together two of our most experienced and admired social entrepmission-increneurs to share how the lessons from their recent SVN book, Mission Inc., are more relevant than ever given the current downturn.

Julius Walls Jr is the founder and CEO of Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, NY, one of the country’s most innovative and respected social enterprise businesses. Kevin Lynch runs Rebuild Resources Inc., a $2.2M social enterprise in St. Paul, MN that helps connect former convicts and addicts reach self-sufficiency through work and spiritual recovery. For more on their book check out the SVN website or the detailed summary on our publisher Berrett-Koehler Press.

Their discussion closed by connecting the lessons from the book to the challenges many mission driven entrepreneurs are facing today. Julius: “These are times of great and hard struggle. However this community has an opportunity to benefit from the downturn more than any other industry. We all know lean times, we all know how to make great things happen with so few resources compared to the big guys.” But they are still hard times, and it will take a lot of grace and grit to survive and thrive as “the herd is culled”.

Julius and Kevin offered a powerful list: 7 ways to survive the hard times with the mission and the business in tact:


April 26, 2009 at 11:52 am Leave a comment

Marketing Innovation: How Networks are Changing Business

Consumers are over-marketed-to. They have simply stopped listening, said Jason Mogus, CEO of Communicopia during Saturday’s Marketing Innovation: Using Social Media to Build your Brand session at SVN’s Spring Member Gathering.

Consumers are tuning out to traditional marketing yet at the same time, demanding more – video-3-00m-07smore empowerment, more stories, more quickly, from more voices. They seek meaning and authenticity and want more from us than irregular regurgitation of “polished” and perfect PR stories.

Jason moderated a diverse panel of SVN social media innovators (some of whom didn’t know they were!) who have each experimented and succeeded with social media in some exciting ways:


April 25, 2009 at 9:59 pm Leave a comment

Working Within the System to Change It

“This is our time. This is the time to change,” said Sheryl O’Loughlin, CEO of Nest Naturals during the “To Sell of Not to Sell” panel Friday afternoon.

The panel – comprised of natural food innovators Gary Hirshberg, CEO of Stonyfield Farm, Seth Goldman, co-founder of Honest Tea and Sheryl O’Loughlin, and moderated by Terry Moliner of Stakeholders Capital, Inc. – emphasized one message: Socially-conscious businesses must work within the system in order to change the system.

Continue Reading April 24, 2009 at 9:39 pm Leave a comment

SVN ‘Everywhere’ Research Team at Work

As part of this year’s spring gathering, the “SVN Everywhere” research team is busy working the room to meet with members and understand your behaviors and needs around member connectivity. Our goal is to see how social media tools can enable and accelerate our work and impact.


April 24, 2009 at 8:48 pm Leave a comment

Obama Makes Social Innovation Real

The opening panel for the SVN member gathering saw SVN members Greg Nelson from the White House, Jonathan Greenblatt, Obama transition team manager and founder of Ethos Water, and Elliot Hoffman, co-founder of Just Desserts who runs New Voice for Business. In addition to talking about the need for a new political voice for progressive business, Jonathan announced some exciting and inspiring new initiatives the Administration is making in the field of social innovation.

Jonathan GreenblattJonathan Greenblatt: What’s happening inside the Obama administration is completely aligned with what SVN members stand for. President Obama is big on civic engagement, national service, and social entrepreneurship. He emphasized the idea of social innovation, about looking for partnerships between non-profits and business to drive an agenda of change for the country.

One early idea of the Administration was to create a White House Office of Social Innovation, that could provide clear leadership and focus a consistent voice for change. This office was just created last week! The CEO, Sonal Shah, is a social entrepreneur herself who founded an organization sending service volunteers to South Asia, and who was also a CSR manager at large global firms like Goldman Sachs and The office’s second in command is a fellow of Ashoka. These are people from this community who get it.


April 24, 2009 at 2:28 am 1 comment

LOHAS consumers most likely to use social networks

A colleague tweeted this new research to me this afternoon:

From The Environmental Leader:

LOHAS consumers most likely to use social networks.

Excerpt: Marketers wanting to reach those in the Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) segment might turn to social networks and online communities. These consumers are more likely than all others to be engaged in online communities like Facebook, MySpace and others, according to research from the Natural Marketing Institute.


April 21, 2009 at 1:34 am Leave a comment

SILC’s New Website: Great Resources for Building Diversity


Maryanne Howland of Ibis Communications and Russ Gaskin of Green America worked with SILC (Social Impact Leadership Coalition) to create an updated site which has new resources designed to bridge the gap between businesses led by people of color and businesses that consider themselves to be “socially responsible.” Check it out at!

The site makes a compelling case to businesses owners about the need for greater diversity and inclusion in their companies, and includes practical tools (case studies, best practices, and online resources) to help them pursue a more effective diversity agenda.
The site also has information about Social Venture Institutes (geared toward small business leaders in the field of socially responsible enterprise) and profiles of SVN and SILC members on

April 17, 2009 at 10:58 pm Leave a comment

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April 2009